Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has been urged by leader of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in the state to release the Fulani herdsmen with firearms that were arrested during an operation by men of the Operation Burst security outfit on Sunday.
The joint security task force in the state were said to have apprehended 47 herders in possession of firearms in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of the state.
The Oyo State Police Command said the men who were in possession of firearms, who were rounded up at Ofiki River along Tapa/Igangan Road in Ibarapa, claimed that they were on the trail of some kidnappers in the area when arrested.
However, the suspects, who are currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Ibadan, were said to be on a reprisal mission following the invasion of kidnappers’ hideouts by men of the state Security Network Agency codenamed Operation Amotekun.
At least, three people were killed in the raid which was conducted by men of the Amotekun Corps in collaboration with local hunters, vigilantes and the Miyetti Allah.
The Miyetti Allah in the state has alleged that the operation by security agents was targeted at the Fulanis.
But an aide to Governor Makinde had refuted claims that the operation was targeted at the Fulanis, stating that only the criminal elements who were the targets and lost their lives in the raid.
The state Chairman of Miyetti Allah has, however, insisted that the 47 arrested gunmen were vigilantes who were deployed by the association in Ibarapa.
He said, “They invited us (Miyetti Allah) to a meeting in Ibadan where they told us that they needed our support to fight insecurity in Ibarapa area so we told them that we were going to give them 50 among our vigilantes who are Fulanis.
“Those people are not criminals but are securing us. They are registered vigilantes and they are working with police and other security agencies.”
There have been killings by armed herdsmen in parts of the country, including the Oke Ogun axis of the state.